How Much Weed Can You Really Produce Per Plant?
Wondering how much weed you can produce per cannabis plant? Here’s everything you need to know about the variables affecting your yield.
Cannabis growers love to boast about huge harvests, but just how much weed can inexperienced growers expect to harvest from a single plant? In this article, we’ll take a closer look at cannabis yield and what influences it, and much more.
- 1. Light and nutrients
- 2. Genetics
- 3. Medium
- 4. Indoor VS outdoor
- 5. Skill
- 6. How to estimate yield
- 7. How to improve your cannabis yield: quick tips
- 1. Light and nutrients
- 2. Genetics
- 3. Medium
- 4. Indoor VS outdoor
- 5. Skill
- 6. How to estimate yield
- 7. How to improve your cannabis yield: quick tips
YIELDS VARY… A LOT
If there’s one thing that’s certain about growing cannabis, it’s this: results vary. A lot. There are many different variables that affect your plants, their health, growth, and the amount of flower they produce. And frankly, trying to guess the size of your yield before harvest is really difficult.
Most rookie growers estimate their yield based on the height of their plants. And that makes sense—at least in theory. Unfortunately, plant size isn’t a very accurate indicator of final yield. In fact, it’s really hard to estimate the size of your yield just by looking at a single aspect of your plant (like height, for example).
Cannabis buds develop on what growers refer to as “bud sites”. These are the spots on branches where pre-flower structures form roughly 4–6 weeks into a plant’s life cycle. Once a plant enters its flowering phase, it stops dedicating its energy to developing foliage, instead focusing on producing healthy buds on these sites. How big and dense these buds become depends on a lot of different variables, including light, nutrients, genetics, substrate, and more. The size of a plant, on the other hand, says little about how many bud sites it will develop, or how big/dense its buds will be come harvest.
LIGHT AND NUTRIENTS
Light is arguably one of the most important factors affecting your yield. To maximise output, you should maximise light exposure to your plant early on by using training techniques to manipulate growth. One popular training technique is low stress training (LST), which involves bending and tying down branches to optimise light exposure and encourage a more horizontal structure. The screen of green (ScrOG) method takes this further, situating a mesh screen over plants, upon which new growth is woven in an effort to boost final yield. There are many more techniques where these came from, including high-stress tek like topping (in which the main growing tip is cut off) and defoliation, to name just a couple.
Nutrients are also really important, and you’ll want to make sure your plants always have access to the macronutrients and micronutrients they need at each stage of growth. When it comes to nutes, your plants require different ratios depending on their phase. During veg, plants require higher levels of nitrogen, whereas flowering plants require more potassium, phosphorus, and micronutrients like calcium and magnesium. In addition to the nutrients themselves, plants need to be able to uptake these nutrients to develop huge hauls of big buds. In order to do so, the pH level has to be dialled in for the type of grow you’re conducting.
Arguably the most crucial factor that determines final yield are genetics. And just like there are some strains that taste better than others, there are also those that produce better harvests than others.
Remember that cannabis strains have been bred to meet the demands of growers and consumers. And with yield being so important, there are countless strains out there that have been purposefully bred to produce numerous bud sites and develop bigger, heavier flowers. Make sure to check out some of our XL strains if you’re looking to really rake in the buds.
There are many different grow media out there, and they all have different effects on the overall yield of your plants.
While soil is easily the most common medium used to grow cannabis, hydroponic media like perlite or coco coir give growers a lot more control over the nutrient intake of their plants. And while that kind of control may be overwhelming for rookie growers, experienced growers can use it to really push their plants to the next level and produce massive yields.
INDOOR VS OUTDOOR
Whether you grow indoors or outdoors will have a big impact on your plants.
Indoor growers generally have less space to work with, which means they’ll usually grow fewer, smaller plants than someone growing outdoors. However, indoor growers also have much more control over their plants’ environment. Hence, they can play around with things like lighting, temperature, and humidity to fine-tune their growing conditions and optimise yield.
Outdoor growers, on the other hand, usually have much more space to work with than indoor growers, meaning they’ll be able to grow more plants in a single season than indoor growers. Plus, outdoor growers also have the benefit of growing under the best possible light source in the world—the sun. However, outdoor growers don’t have the same level of control over their environment, meaning their yield is subject to the season, which, depending on where you live, may be unpredictable.
This is another important factor that affects your overall yield. The more fine-tuned your skills, the more control you have over your plants. And the more control you have over your plants, the better your yield.
HOW TO ESTIMATE YIELD
While yields vary a lot, there are some ways you can get at least a rough estimate of how much weed you’ll produce.
ESTIMATING YIELD BASED ON POT SIZE
Remember that cannabis plants will only grow as large as their pots allow them to. And while size is, as we saw earlier, far from the perfect indicator of how much you’ll harvest, it can help you get a ballpark estimate of what your harvests will look like.
Ideally, you’ll want to grow in at least 18-litre pots. With this amount of soil, some decent nutrients, and some light pruning/training, you should be able to grow large, healthy plants that reach at least 90cm in height. Given they get a full 4–5 weeks of vegetative growth and solid lighting that penetrates right through to the lowest bud sites, plants of this size should be able to produce at least 100g of dry bud per plant.
ESTIMATING YIELD BASED ON LIGHTING
Some growers choose to estimate their yield based on the strength of their lamps. And while this is far from an exact science, it can be a bit more accurate than calculating your yield per plant, especially if you choose to grow multiple smaller plants, rather than just a few larger ones.
If you’re growing indoors and have at least a few harvests under your belt, you can expect to harvest roughly one gram for every watt of light. If you’re a newbie grower with little-to-no experience, expect yields of around 0.5g per watt.
GO HYDRO FOR BIGGER YIELDS
Growing hydroponically gives you a lot more control over how your plants feed. With the right equipment and experience, this can greatly improve the size and quality of your yield. Experienced hydro growers, for example, can encourage yields of up to 1.2g per watt of lighting. By this logic—and using a 600W lamp—a good hydro grower can harvest over 700 grams of bud (genetics depending)!
A NOTE ON DRY VS WET YIELD
Remember, the weight of your buds will drop dramatically after drying and curing. So don’t get too excited when you weigh your buds right after trimming. Instead, multiply your wet yield by 0.25 to get a rough estimate of how much dry bud you’ll end up with.
HOW TO IMPROVE YOUR CANNABIS YIELD: QUICK TIPS FOR GROWERS
Growing cannabis can be challenging, but there are plenty of things you can do to improve your yield as a novice grower. These include:
• Start with the right genetics. Professionally bred strains will always produce better yields than bagseed.
• Read up on training techniques. Training your plants to grow a certain way maximises their exposure to light, which will ultimately improve your yield.
• Know your nutrients. Use the info on our blog to learn more about how to use nutrients to really maximise your plants’ potential.
• Experiment. Don’t be scared to try new grow techniques and push yourself as a grower.
• Go hydro! Once you’ve got a few harvests under your belt, consider immersing yourself in the world of hydroponics, where you’ll have even more control over your plants and their growth.
• Keep growing! The more experience you have, the better you’ll get. Hence, make sure you grow consistently to hone your skills and become evermore in tune with cannabis.
Cannabis yields vary. A lot. Click here to learn more about the factors affecting your yield, and some simple tips for heavier harvests.
A s you may know, the legalization of medical and recreational marijuana across several states has enabled many consumers to become accustomed to purchasing cannabis from a dispensary. Even more intriguing though is the opportunity that legalization has created for adults and medical patients to cultivate cannabis in their own homes.
While the laws, limitations and regulations are different for each state, almost every state with some form of legalized marijuana does allow home cultivation to some extent. Even though it’s completely legal, some people do not take advantage of their right to grow cannabis due to the perception that it is too difficult, expensive or time-consuming.
Interesed in growing? Click here to purchase your own seeds and start growing today!
Don’t let the lack of ambition from others discourage you though. If done correctly, growing cannabis at home can be fun, simple and cost-effective! We believe everyone should have access to their own clean cannabis. That’s why we decided to bring you a comprehensive guide to growing marijuana, created specifically with beginner growers in mind.
With essential grow knowledge, you’ll learn the benefits and tips of different grow methods, how to maximize plant yields and grow times, the best harvesting, drying, curing methods and much more! Who’s ready to start their cannabis growing journey?
Part 1 – Understanding Marijuana Grow Mediums
Deep Water Culture Hydroponics
Before starting your cannabis grow, you must decide if you want an indoor growing system or an outdoor growing system. When it comes to indoor growing mediums, DWC, or deep water culture, is a type of hydroponic growing method where each plant’s roots are growing in a tub of water.
One of the main benefits of a DWC system is that it promotes faster growth. Unlike growing cannabis in soil, roots grown in DWC don’t need to expend energy to search for what the plant needs; nutrients are easily accessible by the roots.
Plants have an unlimited supply of oxygen because of added oxygen from the air stone in the reservoir. Since the plant is spending less energy finding what it needs to grow, it channels that energy to plant growth. In addition, with proper guidance and a quality set up, DWC takes less time to maintain than an average grow.
When implementing a DWC system, a bubbler bucket reservoir system is recommended.
A bubbler bucket reservoir is a simple system that suspends the plant’s roots in a highly oxygenated nutrient solution. The roots are submerged in the nutrient-water solution in the bucket and are then replenished, as needed.
The most important growing tip is to check on your cannabis plants daily. As with many processes, the easiest way to fix a problem is in the beginning stages! If something is wrong with your plant in a DWC system, your first step in remedying your plant should always be to change out the reservoir. It is common for root rot to occur when roots are consistently in water, therefore, it is imperative to establish a preventative routine of changing out the reservoir every seven days. Adding beneficial bacteria to the reservoir is also effective in avoiding and combating root rot.
When growing from seeds in DWC, use each reservoir port (or net cup) to vegetate, then pick the strongest looking females to continue growing.
Keeping air and water temperatures under control are also very important measures to take. Air temperature should be 75-85°F when the lights are on and will drop by 10 degrees when the lights are off. Water temperature should remain at a constant temperature at all times. Your empty portholes can be used to change out the reservoir water by using a pump, allowing you to easily inspect what’s going on inside.
A common mistake to avoid when growing with DWC is not checking the pH levels of the water. This is important for any grow! Dirty reservoirs or not using an aerator 24/7 are two additional crucial mistakes, as roots must have excessive oxygen so they don’t drown. While some people like to maintain a completely sterile reservoir with just nutrients and water and no traces of anything alive, there are some good sources of beneficial bacteria that can be added. Bad bacteria is obviously, bad, but we wanted to emphasize the possibility of bacteria that can benefit your grow. To avoid potentially harmful bacteria, be proactive about changing the reservoir water.
In addition, having too many plants in one reservoir can lead to problems such as white powdery mildew. Don’t cramp your plants, instead, we recommend growing one plant per reservoir to allow the roots to spread out and give the leaves and buds more space.
Setting up a water transfer pump for this task can speed up the process. For best results, learn how to flush your cannabis plants.
Flushing your plants by removing any nutrients and salts improves the quality and taste of your final product. By simply draining your bubbler bucket reservoir and adding plain (pH neutral) water for two-three days before harvest, the plant will use all its existing nutrients contained in the stems, leaves and buds.
Growing Cannabis with Coco Coir
Coco coir is another great growing method, especially for beginners. It provides the ease of soil gardening with the rapid growth of hydroponics by using fibrous coconut husks instead of a potting mix. Compared to just soil growing, it absorbs moisture much easier, allowing plants to take up more nutrients and retain oxygen more efficiently because of its lighter texture. It also provides a forgiving buffer by reducing shock stress when human errors are made, such as adding too many nutrients, a common mistake.
Coco is much easier to flush than DWC because you aren’t changing an entire water reservoir. In fact, watering coco coir is very versatile. You can use a flood and drain hydroponic system, which is when the nutrient system temporarily floods from beneath the plant, controlled by a pump and timer, instead of dripping from above like most hydroponic systems. You can also use the most recognized top water to waste system, which is simply taking a water pail and watering your plant until water comes out of the bottom of the pot.
When growing cannabis with coco, good quality coco coir makes an immense difference, especially regarding root development. For beginner growers, a three-to-one coco to perlite mixture is recommended as it requires less watering frequency and holds moisture and nutrients better.
For more experienced growers, a one-to-one coco to perlite ratio is recommended as you are able to water more frequently, giving the plant more nutrient uptake and allowing more aggressive root growth.
With coco, water around the outside of the pot in early stages of growth to encourage roots to reach out and fill up the entire container.
Some common mistakes can occur when growing with coco if a grower allows the coco to get too dry, as the mixture dries quickly. Not checking the pH of the nutrient-water solution and not flushing on a consistent basis are also critical errors, as you are using more nutrients with coco and the excess residual nutrients can cause common nutrient deficiency symptoms.
It’s also very important to use Cal-Mag, or Calcium and Magnesium, in your coco growing medium. Calcium plays a direct role in a plant’s root development, nutrient uptake and protein synthesis. Magnesium is an essential part of chlorophyll production, helping your plants with photosynthesis, as well as aiding in the synthesis of sugars and proteins. Together, the correct amount of magnesium and calcium will help keep your cannabis plant healthy.
Outdoor soil growing is a common gardening technique that most people with house plants or vegetable gardens are familiar with. Using techniques such as top-fed watering, deep irrigation or wicks are all viable methods to water your plants. You can either use organic, composted soil, or store-bought soil with added liquid nutrients.
To make organic soil, you need a mixture of biolive, alfalfa meal, oyster shell for calcium, blood meal and bone meal, humic acid to keep the roots clean, and kelp. With store bought soil, use organic nutrients and start adding them about three weeks into the vegetative stage. With synthetic nutrients, you must flush them out regularly. Flood the soil with as much fresh water as it can withstand and leave it for a few minutes to allow the nutrients to be picked up, then flood it again to get the nutrients away from the plant.
Always remember, less is more with non-organic nutrients. If you are adding nutrients, a good rule-of-thumb is to add them about once a week.
A benefit to outdoor soil growing is that if you have a good base-soil built up, it’s not necessary to add nutrients throughout the plant’s life cycle. That means less work for you! It is also likely that the smell and flavor profiles of your buds will increase as well.
A common mistake when growing outdoors is overwatering. Wait to water your plants until the first three inches or so, or about knuckle depth, of soil is dry. You can gauge your soil by pulling the container it is in slightly outwards. Not checking the pH after mixing nutrients, or using nutrients too frequently are also common mistakes that you’ll want to avoid.
Don’t use miracle grow or other similar slow release soils. Your plants will not get the correct amount of nitrogen needed during vegetation and they will receive too much nitrogen during flowering.
Part 2: Learning Cannabis Grow and Plant Maintenance Techniques
Growers have recorded a plethora of marijuana growing techniques over the years to ensure you make the most of your crop. If you want to maximize yield and maximize the amount of light your cannabis plant receives, it is important to practice bending and securing parts of the plant, or removing parts of the plant altogether. While there are many different methods, it is important to note which ones will be the most sustainable for your growing medium.
Bending & Securing Your Cannabis Plants
Screen of Green (ScrOG)
One technique for bending and securing parts of marijuana plants is ScrOG, or Screen of Green. ScrOG is perfect for an indoor grower who is only growing a small number of plants. In places like Colorado, for example, this method is ideal as the legal growing limit is three flowering plants at a time.
ScrOG is designed to optimize the energy from a light by creating an even canopy space where bottom growth of the plant is forced upward to form a flat canopy. By spreading out the canopy and growing the plant horizontally until a few weeks into the flowering stage, more main cola budding sites will take place. The canopy of one plant can be grown as large as a four-foot canopy.
New to growing cannabis? Don’t worry, our beginner’s guide to growing marijuana will help you through the process. From seed to harvest, we have you covered with tips, tricks and step-by-step procedures.